(Question: why put such a pic with a post about whitewater? Answer: because this post is a little preachy, and is kind of walking the like (get it) between political advocacy and just pure excitement for an outdoor activity!)
This story from last October, regarding a possibly whitewater park on the Huron River, close to downtown Ann Arbor) really caught my attention: http://www.annarbor.com/news/ann-arbor-park-advisory-commission-recommends-117-million-reconstruction-of-argo-dam-headrace/
However at the time it seemed rather pie in the sky, that is a lot of money, and not everyone would really be into that. (Side note: I think that there are a lot of people around here that would really dig something like this!)
I was reminded of this proposed park earlier this year when the City of Petoskey opened its own park: http://upnorthnewsandsports.blogspot.com/2011/05/petoskey-opens-whitewater-paddling-park.html. News of that park was very exciting. Face it, whitewater yakking is just something that just does not exist in this state.
So upon seeing this story: http://www.annarbor.com/news/dte-energy-offering-to-pay-for-whitewater-features-included-in-argo-dam-headrace-project/ which talks about DTE Energy footing the bill for the whitewater portion of the project, I was very pleased. This would be a very beneficial installment in the community.
Parks such as these offer local paddlers the opportunity to experience diverse conditions in an artificial (local) setting. They have the potential to bring people in to towns and area thus making new destinations for tourism. There is also a potential for new businesses to form as a result of whitewater parks; kayak rental/ sales shops, and an opportunity for persons with experience to give lessons on whitewater kayaking.
I really hope that I am around here long enough to see this plan come to fruition.